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Apple Cider
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Apple Cider 
Birthday Crack 
Chingadero 
Contortionist 
Corrections, The 
Demolition Woman 
Direct to Sweeney's 
Easy To Remember 
Green Puke 
Heros Are Hard To Find 
Matrix, The 
One Man Sex Party 
Pandora 
Punta Magna 
Slaves, The 
Sweeney's Special 
Tennis Shoe Traverse 
Texas Sucks 
Ticket to New Zealand 
Travels With Charlie 
Valhalla 
Unsorted Routes:

Contortionist 

YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII British: E5 6a

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII British: E5 6a [details]
FA: David Kozak
Page Views: 2,112
Submitted By: eDixon on Jun 5, 2006
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (10)
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BETA PHOTO: The Contortionist.

Description 

Climb steep moves off the ground, then pull the awkward/bouldery crux (gear is available but difficult to place), and climb the finger crack that leads into Apple Cider's first pitch. Finish at same bolted anchor.


Location 

The route starts to the left of Apple Cider.


Protection 

Small to finger-sized gear.



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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 14, 2010
By Lee Frazer
Sep 11, 2009

David Kozak did the first ascent.

By tyler88
From: Durango, CO
Mar 15, 2010

I believe this route needs a bolt or two where the gear placements are thin. I have talked to David and he supports this idea and gave me permission to do it for him. Any objections? This is a great route and deserves more traffic.

By -mn
Mar 16, 2010

This has been led numerous times...a great EA trad line. Boulder out the opening moves to a good little ledge, about 15ft up, where you can match hands. Place a couple bomber small stoppers and a blue Alien then fire the crux. Strong leaders at this grade should have no problems. A similar situation is on Punta Magna to the right. That crux is protectable with small gear as well and is in the same league as Contortionist. People have whipped on both routes and have been fine. Let's leave these hard trad lines alone (i.e. - no bolts) for the folks who have enjoyed them as such and also for other climbers who are working their way up the grades. Thanks!...Miles Newby

By Skyeler Congdon
From: his van
Mar 16, 2010
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a R

I agree with Miles. Plus, this line is super easy to TR off of Apple Cider- so it gets plenty of traffic. But I also think it's David's decision. So, if he wants it bolted, then fine: one less headpoint project for us mortals who need TR inspection!

By Brad Brandewie
Mar 17, 2010

I agree with Miles. This line does not need to be retro-bolted.

It should be left for those who are ready to lead at that grade with the available gear.

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Mar 17, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

I would support installing a bolt at the crux of this route as well. As Kozak did, I have climbed the route ground- up (that's the way we used to do it), but rarely repeat it. Alas, while the gear is bomber, it is such a pain in the ass to place it for the one move of climbing which doesn't really fit, quality wise, with the rest of the route. If you could clip and blow through the one awkward move, the route would be a lot more fun. Punta Magna, on the other hand, is much easier to protect, the crux climbing is infinitely more worthwhile, and it is more in character with the nature of the route. After all that said, you can always toprope like Skyeler said. But toproping is gay and headpointing is not a legit form of climbing, right?

By Lee Frazer
Mar 21, 2010

Kozak told me if Tim Kuss supported the idea of adding a bolt, then we should definitely add a bolt. It would certainly be nice for those of us who were once bold climbers, but who now consider themselves old climbers (w/ kids and mortgages). (Sorry to get sappy, but I won't solo nor lead sh-t these days that I can't protect well.) And I'd still rather lead than top rope.

By Lee Frazer
Mar 21, 2010

I think Tim sold me on retrobolting with this: "If you could clip and blow through the one awkward move, the route would be a lot more fun."

Though not sure what "top roping is gay" refers to. (Sorry Tim, giving you a hard time. It bugs me to no end when people use "gay" to bastardize or debase something.)

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Mar 21, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

OK, toproping is uncool at East A but totally cool at XRock, where one might be introduced to climbing on a toprope. You go to East A to lead Yo! I don't know, toproping at East A just seems (odd, out of character, atypical; not quite right, weirdo, nOOb), even if we all do it. Too much South Park. Funny, innocent way of speaking? This is totally off topic. Peace.

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Mar 25, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

Another advantage to adding a bolt at the crux is that it would encourage more climbing on the route that forks left from the crux (Leeper hangers). It's a good route that probably got one or two ascents back in the late 1980s.

By David Kozak
Mar 27, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a R

My comments here are to confirm that I did tell Tyler Nelson that I would be in favor of adding a bolt at the crux of Contortionist. As Tim said, getting gear is a total pain in the ass (even though it's okay) on this route. I think it is so much of a PIA that it diminishes the quality of the route.

I also appreciate Miles, Skyeler and Brad's position to leave as is. (Brad: is this what you were calling me about a week or so ago?)

As I've gotten much older, less bold, weaker, and more responsible in a family kind of way--some might say more lame--I am less rigid about matters dealing with the sparing use of bolts on routes such as this. A bolt would radically raise the fun level of this climb.

By Brad Brandewie
Mar 29, 2010

If David thinks a bolt should be added, then I'm for it.

My opinion is that unless the FA wants a route to be retro-bolted, it should be left alone.

Otherwise, every few years there will be a new group of people who think they know how to make a route better. The result will be a trend to "make everything safe to lead" in areas like EA.

By Skyeler Congdon
From: his van
Mar 31, 2010
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a R

So for one route Tim writes:

"This is an old route, done in the '70s, with the gear of that era, and without the fixed gear that has been added. It was an excellent testpiece for those seeking some boldness at that grade. Now someone has F'd it with some lame, drilled angles. Way to go, pus!"

Then writes about this route:

"Alas, while the gear is bomber, it is such a pain in the ass to place" and advocates retro-bolting.

Sounds like some cognitive dissonance to me, eh Lee??

So far the argument (aside from Kozak's preference- which is all that really matters) is that placing gear on this route is INCONVENIENT. And that is suppose to be less lame than headpointing??

In fact, placing gear during the crux of Stargazer is a pain in the ass, too, off those tips jams. Lets place a bolt there, too....

I really could give two shits about this route (or East A in general, choss that it is!) but I find the hypocrisy in this discussion amusing. Maybe you should stick to Turtle Lake, Tim;)

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Mar 31, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

Obviously, my attempt to reflect sarcasm with written words has fallen short as usual. I'm old and don't know how to use modicons and other texting tricks to express this. I would rarely support adding bolts to existing routes without FA consent. But I do suffer from cognitive dissonance just like most climbers who ponder such issues. Otherwise, I would have to onsight freesolo every time I went climbing, as it is my belief that this is the only legit way to climb.

This is just my opinion which comes from experiencing climbing through thirty + years of ethical debate: some routes are improved with the FA APPROVED addition of gear and some should be left alone. An example being Three Open Books (not FA approved). The only good moves on it are the (formerly) unprotected ones. This is what (made) it a classic?...historical route. That route has seen many ascents. Some of these R routes don't >ever get repeated and that seems like a waste of rock to me. This isn't to say that every seldom repeated route should be retro bolted. We must draw the line somewhere, which is why we are having this discussion. FA approval is really where we all agree.

Another example is the first bolt on Crime and Punishment. To me, it was no big deal to climb to the (now second) bolt to start the route. Many people complained that that run was scary and blocked convenient access to two great routes. Now, with the addition of a bolt closer to the ground, a major portion of excellent rock was opened for more people to enjoy. FA approved!

Stoneage Struggle was once on my list to retrobolt, as the first ascentionist, because I really wanted to see this quality line get climbed more often. Then I was convinced by one of my hard nosed trad buddies that it was a better route as is and I agreed. One must be open minded.

I don't care if Contortionist gets a bolt or not, I'm just saying it would improve the route for me because it would be more CONVENIENT for me, though it would ONLY be a headpoint or a redpiont, depending on how much gear I placed. I would toprope it but that would be...do I have to explain everything to you guys?

Please pardon my elitist and hypocritical attitude. I only talk this way because I'm better than you (attempt at sarcasm). So I'm off to show off my awesome skills to some college girls at Turtle Lake. Peace.

P.S. Skyeler! East A choss? You sound like an angry young man. Don't forget your helmet as this could upset some people.

P.P.S Aren't we all here for our amusement? One man's hypocrisy is another man's open mindedness. Glad you're enjoying it.

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Mar 31, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

After the bolt goes in, we can talk about y'all's star ratings. Three stars really? I'd be willing to go to two stars with a bolt or a bolted on jug, perhaps two and a quarter with a bolt and a glued on foothold, but three stars in its current state? Man, that's pushing it. You can't give a route three stars, then call it choss. Such hypocrisy. Amusing though.

By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Apr 1, 2010

As someone who has lead this route and found it a nice test piece, I disagree with installing a bolt. Kozak put this up under fine style and the rest of us should be able to do it the same way. To everyone that wants to install the bolt, "if you're too scared to lead it without the bolt, then maybe you should not be on it!" Placing a bolt on this route bastardizes the thought that East A is a trad area that has a strong history of ethics against bolts on lines that have gear. If you want to lead it and are afraid you might fall off, drag your weak sauce crash pad up there to protect the first 15 ft. NO to the BOLT! Tyler, thanks for asking the opinions of the community on this topic.

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Apr 4, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

Copied from "East Animas" page:

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
2 days ago

Anyone interested in East A ethical issues should check out the route Contortionist on this site. A lively debate about convenience and quality vs. traditional ideals.

By Brad Brandewie
2 days ago

Tim,
That's some clever phrasing, pairing "convenience and quality" as being the other side of the argument against "traditional ideals".

"Quality" is applicable to either side of the argument, depending on one's perspective.

Cheers,
Brad

By IanA
From: Durango, CO
2 days ago

Tim:
I agree that a bolt would make the Contortionist more popular as a lead but does ever climb need to be brought down to the level of the average climber? Should we add bolts to the Bachar-Yerian to make it more accessible to the general climbing community? Its with in the same grade range and within the same general headspace as the Contortionist. Granted it is not as classic as the Bachar- Yerian but that does not mean that it dose not deserve the same respect!

Brad:
+1

Respectfully,
Ian A.

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
2 hours ago

Brad, I agree. Ideals = quality. My own ideals straddle both sides, so I'm enjoying the debate in my own mind as well. As Skyeler said, I suffer from "cognitive dissonance".

Ian, I don't think a bolt would bring the "level" down but only the time spent getting the gear. Just like placing fixed anchors at the top of a route make it more convenient, but not more accessible.

Anyone can stand there for twenty minutes and fish in stoppers, then it's all about the (still really hard) move(s). There is no runout factor. A route like the Bachar-Yerian has no "hassle factor", just the big runouts and route finding. The addition of bolts would indeed bring the "level" of climbing down on that route. It is an entirely different world. In other words, there is no "headspace" to get into on Contortionist, only the hassle of getting the gear, then you're safe.

I agree though that any fixed gear would change the nature of the route significantly. I also understand that getting the gear is part of the quality for some people, just as the runouts on Bachar-Yerian are an element of quality on that route.
Thanks y'all.

See comments at "Three Open Books".

By Kevin Hadfield
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Apr 6, 2010
rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 6a R

+1 for no bolt.

The route is great as is... For the us younger, bolder, yada yada yada... folks, the route offers an intriguing challenge to complete this route exactly as Kozak did.

Let's cool this discussion a bit, the "best" thing about Durango's climbing culture is the environment of acceptance.

My two cents.... What up Skeyeler???? What!?!

By Skyeler Congdon
From: his van
Apr 6, 2010
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a R

What up, Kevin! 11b/c? What a sandbagger!

Not to mention the fact that Jim Beyer would probably chop this controversial retro bolt if he gets wind of it regardless of any kind of consensus- if he's still around Durango....

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Apr 7, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

Wow! It's totally respectable to see so many younger climbers who value this route in its boltless state. You guys an inspiration.

I think aid climbers would still find the route to be A1, bolt or no bolt. And, if we are going by "traditional values" here, no one should chop anything, (consensus or no) if the FA party returns to finish equipping their route. One can take any discussion to its extreme end, i.e; Republicans and Al Qaeda.

Really, Kevin! Way to keep grade inflation in check-.

By tyler88
From: Durango, CO
Apr 7, 2010

WOW, thanks for all the feed back. All in all, I really just wanted to know what people want, I was not necessarily for it or against it. Plus, I've always liked to rile y'all up a little bit. I support the comments about the route going up clean and that legacy should live on. Also, I agree East A is a little sketchy sometimes, and it should stay that way. I'm not going to bolt it, I just need to add some key gear to my quiver!

By David Kozak
Apr 14, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a R

Does anyone have a Bosch I could borrow?

By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Apr 16, 2010

Kozak: Even though I respect that the first ascentionist has the right to alter their routes I would have thought that from all the positive responses to keep this climb bolt free you would respect the wishes of the community.

Tim:
Glad you like that there is a group of young guns that are still into the heady leads. Don't forget to give yourself a big pat on the back because it is first ascentionist like you, Kozak, Ken Trout, etc. that passed these ethics down to us.

Skyler:
Nice work on the new route Martyr's Crown it was established in good East A. style.

By eggman
Apr 19, 2010

Just caught wind of a spicy forum taking place about Contortionist. Personally, I think the route might be the most sought after and best TR on the Western Slope. As someone who has personally TR'ed all the hardest lines at East A., I think a bolt might make me a little bit sad.

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Apr 19, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

I thought we were done with this but....

Dave, I have an old Bosch Bulldog for you. It was probably the first climbing power drill in town. I know it would be perfect for retrobolting routes from that era.

Ian, thanks for the respect but try not to make me feel too old, man. I'm still just a climber, the only difference is I've grown out of idealistic climbing "ethics" which are the most abstract and absurd thing in recreational sports. For a community that prides themselves as being free-thinkers, we sure do paint ourselves into a tight box don't we....

Speaking of "community", six of us dorks blogging our opinions on Mountain Project is not, by any means, representative.

And just what is "good East A style"? A ground-up establihed route with runouts like Stoneage? A rap bolted yet heavily retro bolted route like Durangatan? A lead placed but closely spaced bolted route like Evolution? Maybe a rap bolted, full on sport route like Space Boy? Perhaps a headpoint-established style like Punta Magna? Or a rap bolted but runout route like Martyr's Crown(also headpoint)?

Eggman, that was an awesome TR sesh yesterday, but I left there feeling a little dirty.

By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Apr 19, 2010

Direct quote from Durango Sandstone by Tim Kuss "trad: a person who is preoccupied with gear, and owns a collection of old-time books. A person who frequents East Animas and is too weak or scared to climb at Golf Wall."

I don't know Tim its starting to sound like the Golf Wall crowd is to scared to climb at East Animas.

Quote from Durango Sandstone by Tim Kuss "some routes have been climbed on marginal or slim protection and this is part of the challenge. You might not be good enough just now, to get it without whacking yourself. Try to get better or leave it alone."

Thanks, Tim. I think you summed that up pretty well. But I do understand that you guys need to retrobolt it so you can relive your glory days.

I fully agree that Kozak has the right to retrobolt his route but it does not mean that I have to agree with it. It's just disappointing that we alter things that have history and challenge.

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Apr 19, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

Also from the guidebook: sport routes: over engineered rig jobs....installed by dirtbags who are too lazy to place removable protection or too scared to run it out.... I also admitted there, to retrobolting some of the routes that I established on rappel, because it is my oppinion that it is "unethical" to ask people to fire a runout, onsight, that the FA party preinspected on rappel. Any comments I've made only support the right of the FA party.

I agree though. Once that bolt goes in, historical challenge is out.

And my glory days haven't even arrived yet, man. How old do you think I am? From now on, I will only put up routes that are so runout and chossy that nobody will ever want to climb them.

By the way, I'm not sure, but I think Kozak is just joking about borrowing a Bosch. I'm just egging on this fun conversation.

Peace, Brothers

By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Apr 19, 2010

Tim you said "I thought we were done with this but...." I'm just continuing the conversation. I know we all have different opinions and that those opinions change, and I totally agree with your comment on "for a community that prides themselves as being free-thinkers, we sure do paint ourselves into a tight box don't we..." (agree 100%). I too am just egging on conversation, because I don't have anything better to do and this is the most interesting topic Durango has ever had on MountainProject. By the way, you're 44.

By David Kozak
Apr 19, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a R

In my humble opinion, Tim asks the appropriate question regarding FAs at EA: "And just what is "good East A style"?" Let me take this question in another direction with regard to updating established routes.

What happens when a route is updated gear wise? Given the logic of some of the discussion, one could argue that replacing 1/4" or Star Drive horror shows with modern bolts on routes like Durangatang (among others) has presumably corrupted the historical challenge and bold lead that it used to be. How does new technology change a route? For the better? For the worse? Because of the upgrade one simply does not have the same opportunity of climbing this route in its original form. Does this lessen the route somehow?

If a bolt were added to Contortionist, one could still "enjoy" the original "historical challenge" by simply ignoring the bolt. For this route, a well-placed bolt perhaps offers the best of both worlds: Play it safe or tough it out--it's your choice.

"To Clip or Not to Clip, That is the Question" (Plato). So much philosophizing in these entries for such a primitive experience we all love so much.

By the way, and this may not be a good time to bring this up, but I have also been thinking of retrofitting the Black Arete with two or three well-placed bolts.

By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Apr 22, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a

Since this discussion has been beaten to death for many years, by everyone, we can learn what the big dogs have said. This is part of a post by Werner Braun from Supertopo:

Not all routes are meant to be safe or enjoyed by many people.

They are "there" whether one enjoys or not, if it's safe or not.

Routes have soul ....

You can cover that soul, with ignorance, passion, and goodness.

And, ... you can come face to face with that soul when you transcend those 3 modes and come to pure goodness.

The best and most beautiful pearls lie in the deepest ocean.

By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Apr 27, 2010

Uh oh, the cat is out of the bag. Tim, are you really 44? You must have invented climbing :) (that at the end is an emoticon by the way).

Ian: If you ever feel like a repeat of the route, I will carry a crash pad up there for you.

David: I think you should bolt the sh*t out of the Black Arete. It has less gear than Contortionist and Three Open Books (or so I hear, I'm too scared to get on it).

and Tyler: Thank you for bringing the climbing community together again not seen since the days of Animas City Rock. Bravo!

But seriously, great discussion and even better reading. I vote for no bolt on Contortionist. If you really want to climb it, you can always top-rope it. It is all about getting out and climbing and top-roping is still climbing even if leading looks cooler.

By Marcus garcia
From: Durango, Co.
Sep 4, 2010

I do not think this routes needs a bolt. One should work up to this level of trad climbing. It is easliy done due to the fact that you can top rope this route from the Apple Cider anchors. You can use the offset Aliens and some good small stoppers. You just have to know the limits of the gear and quality of the placements which come with time. I have lead this climb many times, and it is a good test of the mind and your trad skills, but if a bolt is placed, you can always choose not to clip it.
Now the route leading out left could use some new bolts.

By John E. Duran
From: Wuhan, Hubei province, China
Sep 4, 2010

The environment is the most important. I really love risk. I lead it many times, too. I remember free soloing it shortly afterwards. That's my opinion. The bolts will not matter unless you plan on falling. (Protecting this bombproof is not the question.) Place the "new, shining bolt or another or more bolts and fall. I'm sure it only hurts if you did not climb past it and do not clip it or unless your BOMBPROOF PRO blows out that any sentient being/ unlucky mortal is placing pro on a bad day can acquire on demand OR the so on and so forth happens and/or the newly installed bolt remains unclipped. It's all in good fun. And it is good conversation, too.

By BDergay
From: Eldorado
Oct 2, 2010

Oh Man! An East Animas ethical debate, and I missed it! Fuuuuck!
And what's up with some Polish climber chiming in on East E?!
What could he know about Southwest trad sandstone routes??

By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Oct 31, 2010

Hey, Bob, you should really do some research on the history of Durango climbing. John Duran knows more than just about anybody about Southwest trad climbing. Oh and it is East A.

By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Nov 14, 2010

Bob, I just wanted to apologize for my previous post. I have been informed by IanA that you were being sarcastic and that you are a Durango climbing legend as well. My bad!